So many wines, so little time! If you’re looking for a way to find a wine you really love, and perhaps learn a little more about wine along the way, you can’t beat a wine tasting. And fortunately, Virginia’s wineries offer many opportunities to try some fantastic wines.
At a wine tasting, generally you will try several whites from dry to sweet, then several reds from dry to sweet. You will most likely discover some new flavors you enjoy and want to try a full glass of that particular wine. Other flavors you will find you definitely do not care for.
Before you take a sip, try to take in the color of the wine by looking at it and swirling it in the glass. Swirling the wine will release the aromas.
Smell the wine – really inhale and try to guess the flavors. If you take a sip of white, do you taste apple, pear, honey, or even oak? When tasting a red, do you taste smoky, plum, cherry, or violet flavors? Is the flavor intense or chewy? Buttery or fruity?
Most tasters record their findings and make notes for future reference. There are over 200 wineries in Virginia, and most of them offer wine tastings for a small fee. You will learn more about wine and get the opportunity to try wines you wouldn’t ordinarily buy.
Wine Festivals offer more opportunities to try many Virginia wines in a one-day event. Once a year in February, the Virginia Wine Expo comes to the Richmond Coliseum, where over 70 Virginia wineries are represented. You can pick some favorite wineries and plan a trip to visit them later. This year, the Wine Expo is the weekend of February 22-24. (I will be providing more details of the expo in another article, so stay tuned!)
Another fun kind of wine tasting is a vertical wine tasting, where you try the same wine type harvested different years from the same winery. Rather than mixing white and red wines, you can focus on that particular wine and taste the differences over the years. You will learn (and taste) how the weather or the barrels affected the vintage year. The wineries will explain the wine’s story too.
Ready to get adventurous and try some wine tasting yourself now? Here are some upcoming Virginia wine events:
January 19, February 2, 9, 16, 23
11:30 a.m – 6:00 p.m.
92 Schoolhouse Rd, Washington, VA
Wine Immersion Bootcamp
11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Little Washington Winery
72 Christmas Tree Ln, Washington, VA
Cabernet Franc Vertical Tasting Weekend
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
James River Cellars
11008 Washington Highway, Glen Allen, VA